News & Events

January 16, 2019
"The Wall" is a fantasy
Well, another week of the Trump presidency has flown by, providing us with more moments worthy of comparison to the satirical writings of Joseph Heller or even Jonathan Swift.

Donald Trump, our nation’s leader, is standing firm on his insistence that a wall must be built on our southern border because he says we face a crisis! He says the United States is being gravely endangered by hordes of foreign intruders attempting to sneak into our country. Not only will these undesirables upset our labor force and increase crime but they are a potential conduit for the smuggling of drugs and, more frightening yet, terrorists into the USA. (In reality, the facts speak differently.)

So how exactly is President Trump addressing this grave threat to our security? Until he gets his way, he has “proudly” shut down the government. The result is 800,000 government workers, including those in the TSA and Coast Guard, will not be paid. And what is the job of many of those unpaid workers? Their job is to ensure our nation’s security. — Isn't that just like something out of Heller’s “Catch 22?”

(I could also point to Trump’s earlier reaction to the “caravans” of refugees fleeing terrible conditions in their Central American countries. His suggestion for stemming the flow of families from those areas was to cut off U.S. aid to that region. – Yeah, that should convince those desperate families to stay put.)    

And this brings me to another baffling part of this continuing “Trump dumpster fire:”

Why must every newscaster, pundit and political figure including Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer continue to refer to Trump’s desired border security project as “ the  wall” or “ a  wall?” This simply reinforces the notion that Trump’s "border wall” is a realistic proposal. The truth is it’s a stupid, undoable idea. There will never be and could never be a single wall along our southern border stretching from the Pacific coast to the Gulf of Mexico.

For starters, there is nearly 900 miles of Rio Grande River constituting the Texas-Mexico border. Would Trump’s wall block all U.S. citizens from approaching our side of the Rio Grande River? Or, would there be tall steel fencing down the middle of the Rio Grande, enlarging on the barriers East Berlin placed in waterways shared with West Berlin?

Yes, it is likely that when candidate Trump introduced his vision of “a wall” on our southern border, he may have actually visualized an impenetrable “Great Wall of China” type barrier. This certainly would be in keeping with the simplistic approach he has displayed in facing so many situations since he took office. (Rex Tillerson’s rumored appraisal of President Trump’s intelligence seems more accurate with each passing day.) 

So, I wish our party leaders and the news media would realize that each time they discuss funds for “the wall” they legitimizes Donald Trump’s fantasy while protecting him from any exposure of his ridiculous concept.    

Someday soon, the President may start claiming that his “wall” was simply a metaphor for a secure border made possible by a combination of barriers, electronic sensors, visual surveillance, and patrolling guards. I hope he does switch to that position. Then a funding agreement with Congress might be reached.

Unfortunately, many Trump supporters (and apparently some Fox News personalities) continue to embrace the vision of a massive, defiant, structure placed all along Mexico’s border. -- It’s time they faced reality.

The fact is, there are nearly 400 miles of walls, barriers, etc. already in place along various stretches of the border. The other nearly 1600 miles of “un-walled” border includes, canyons, rivers, deserts that offer varying levels of penetrability. These border areas are patrolled by border security and, I’m assuming, local community law enforcement personnel. (Beef them up? Seems reasonable.) 

Donald Trump should be asked point blank if he intends for his “wall” to be built from the Pacific coast to the Texas gulf. And he should be asked to show the public a map his “wall.” I think that might be especially enlightening for his diehard supporters.

It also seems to me that Democratic leaders should be talking more clearly about their own proposals for border security. They should lead the American people with more clarifying guidance. Right now the vague, misleading language battling over funding for “the wall” is getting us nowhere.

One more thing... At the top of this commentary I referenced the authors Joseph Heller and Jonathan Swift. But this past week there was another author whose work also felt pertinent, Richard Condon. He’s the guy who wrote the “Manchurian Candidate.” Did you ever imagine you would hear reputable news analysts discuss the possibility that the President of the United States might be an agent of the Russian government? Or watch a White House reporter directly ask the President if he has worked for Russia? It actually just happened.

It’s all stranger than fiction. At least it is, so far. We will have to wait and see what the Mueller Investigation and Democratic House hearings turn up before we can dismiss such an idea as totally preposterous. There are probably screenplays being written right now with a fascinating choice of endings.

Nels Howard
NTDO Member since 1973
New Trier Democrats' Events
Sunday, January 27, 2019: Committeeman Dean Maragos’ Volunteer Appreciation Party

When : Sunday, January 27, 2019 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm
What : New Trier Democratic Committeeman Dean Maragos hosts his annual Volunteer Appreciation Party to say “thank you” to all those who helped New Trier Dems this past year. It’s always a nice event and an excellent way to personally meet other North Shore Democrats and many of our local office holders. Please join us for free pizza and a fun afternoon!
Thursday, February 21, 2019: New Trier Democrats’ Winter Networking Pop-Up

When : Thursday, February 21, 2019 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
What : Let’s get together and talk politics! New Trier Democrats invite you to join us for drinks, mingling and conversation. Here’s a great opportunity to network with like-minded people in our area and form connections with other Dems and activists. Drinks will be available for purchase. This event is not a fundraiser – It’s just an opportunity to have fun and meet other area Dems as well as some of our local representatives.
Other Events of Interest
Saturday, January 19, 2019: Young Women’s March Rally 2019

When : Saturday, January 19, 2019 at 10:00am
Where : Federal Plaza, 219 S. Dearborn St., Chicago
What : Young women and allies of all ages are coming together in Chicago to stand in solidarity with the Women’s March on January 19, 2019! The Women’s March believes that the single most powerful act we can do is prepare young people with the skills and commitments to take action around causes that matter to them with courage, compassion, and collaboration. This rally is youth-organized and youth-led, but everyone young and old is invited to attend this event. Youth Empower is the youth voice of the Women’s March Network, aligned with the Women’s March Unity Principles. Note, this rally is not associated with We March On Chicago/Women’s March Chicago. RSVP online , and for more information  visit their Facebook page.
Sunday, January 20, 2019: Reception to Honor Daniel Biss

When : Sunday, January 20, 2019 from 2:00pm to 5:00pm
Where : Evanston Ecology Center, 2024 McCormick Blvd., Evanston
What : An open house reception to honor Daniel Biss as he concludes his service as State Senator, and to welcome State Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz and MWRD Commissioner Cam Davis as they begin their service to our community. Jan Schakowsky, Larry Suffredin, Robyn Gabel, Laura Fine, Litesa Wallace, Kelly Cassidy, Heather Steans, Carol Ronen, Mike Cabonargi, Debra Shore and Josina Morita invite our members and others to help honor these wonderful public servants.
Tuesday, January 22, 2019: Indivisible Evanston January Meeting

When : Tuesday, January 22, 2019 at 7:00pm
Where : Loraine H. Morton Civic Center, Parasol Room, 2100 Ridge Ave., Evanston
What : Join Indivisible Evanston for their monthly meeting and find out how you can take action to resist the Trump agenda and help support progressive legislation and candidates for office. January Meeting Speakers: State Senator Laura Fine; Ben Head – Political Director, Schakowsky for Congress; and Maddy Norris – representing Robyn Gabel, State Rep for IL 18th District. Laura, Ben and Maddy will provide them with a report on the Democratic Party’s plans for 2019 – on both the federal and state level. They’ll also announce the results of their member survey on Indivisible Evanston priorities for 2019. For more information, visit their  Facebook event page .
Saturday, January 26, 2019: Forum, Toward Healthcare for All – the Opportunity to Act Now

When : Saturday, January 26, 2019 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Where : SIEU Healthcare IL, Member Hall, 2229 S. Halsted St., Chicago
What : An opportunity to learn, to connect with others working to expand health insurance coverage, and to explore walking toward healthcare for all in Illinois and the nation. Activists, community members, health professionals and others interested in healthcare access and health equity are invited. The event is free, but registration is required. For additional information or to RSVP,  register online.
Sunday, January 27, 2019: The Capitol Steps with Tenth Dems

When : Sunday, January 27, 2019 at 2:00pm
Where : Center Theatre, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie
What : A performance of “Make America Grin Again” by the political satire comedy troupe The Capitol Steps. For more information or to order tickets,  register online . If you’re interested in joining Tenth Dems for the show and/or for the dinner around 5:00 pm,  click here  or call (847) 266-VOTE (8683).
Wednesday, January 30, 2019: Personal PAC Chicago Pizza Tour

When : Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Where : Labriola Chicago, 535 North Michigan Ave., Chicago
What : Personal PAC Chicago sponsors a three-hour tour featuring three styles of pizza, wine/beer and transportation by coach. Attendees will have a unique opportunity to learn about Chicago’s pizza culture from a connoisseur, while tasting the best pizza the city has to offer. Tour guide: ABC News food reporter Hungry Hound Steve Dolinsky. For additional information or to purchase tickets, call Malia Huff at 312-422-0005 or email
February 11, 2019: Screening and Discussion of Documentary the “The Hunting Ground”

When : Monday, February 11, 2019 from 7:00 – 8:30pm
Where : Northbrook Public Library, 1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook
What : A film documenting the stories of undergraduate survivors of sexual assault, the response from their schools, and the campus culture that allows assault to go unchecked. A discussion, led by the Northwest Center Against Sexual Assault (CASA), will follow the screening. Free admission. For additional information or to reserve a spot,  register online .
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